Nature / Police issue orca watching reminder

Orca watchers having a whale of a time in Lerwick in 2016. Photo: John Coutts

THE POLICE have reminded people to watch orcas responsibly – both at sea and on land.

Scottish Natural Heritage’s (SNH) Karen Hall issued a reminder at the weekend following reports of boats closely following orcas near Lerwick on Friday evening.

The police have now followed suit, saying that people using a boat need to be mindful of the code of conduct in relation to marine life observation.

Boats should be at least 100m from marine animals like whales and dolphins.

“If you are not aware of the code then it is advisable that you research it before you venture out to sea,” police constable George Owen said.

“Details can be easily obtained online from various websites, namely the Scottish Natural Heritage site, or you can visit your local SNH office in Lerwick for further information.

“It is imperative that the code of conduct be adhered to at all times to allow the animals to live and roam undisturbed in their own environment.


“Whales, dolphins and porpoises are protected under law from disturbance, whether reckless or deliberate. Anyone found guilty of an offence would be fined up to £5,000.”

The police added that it is “advised that those wishing to view the animals from a vehicle remain aware of other road users and pedestrians at all times”.

“Please remain focussed on the road and avoid coming to a sudden halt,” Owen said. “These lapses in concentration can lead to collisions.

“To those observing the animals on foot from shorelines please be aware of your surroundings especially when near to cliff edges.

“A good encounter with marine life is one that is enjoyable for you and the whales.”

Become a supporter of Shetland News

Shetland News is asking its many readers to consider start paying for their dose of the latest local news delivered straight to their PC, tablet or mobile phone.

Journalism comes at a price and because that price is not being paid in today’s rapidly changing media world, most publishers - national and local - struggle financially despite very healthy audience figures.

Most online publishers have started charging for access to their websites, others have chosen a different route. Shetland News currently has  over 600 supporters  who are all making small voluntary financial contributions. All funds go towards covering our cost and improving the service further.

Your contribution will ensure Shetland News can: -

  • Bring you the headlines as they happen;
  • Stay editorially independent;
  • Give a voice to the community;
  • Grow site traffic further;
  • Research and publish more in-depth news, including more Shetland Lives features.

If you appreciate what we do and feel strongly about impartial local journalism, then please become a supporter of Shetland News by either making a single payment or monthly subscription.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.



Subscribe to a selection of different newsletters from Shetland News, varying from breaking news delivered on the minute, to a weekly round-up of the opinion posts. All delivered straight to your inbox.

Daily Briefing Newsletter Weekly Highlights Newsletter Opinion Newsletter Life in Shetland Newsletter

JavaScript Required

We're sorry, but Shetland News isn't fully functional without JavaScript enabled.
Head over to the help page for instructions on how to enable JavaScript on your browser.

Your Privacy

We use cookies on our site to improve your experience.
By using our service, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy.

Browser is out-of-date

Shetland News isn't fully functional with this version of .
Head over to the help page for instructions on updating your browser for more security, improved speed and the best overall experience on this site.

Interested in Notifications?

Get notifications from Shetland News for important and breaking news.
You can unsubscribe at any time.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

We're committed to ensuring everyone has equitable access to impartial, open and quality local journalism that benefits all residents.

By supporting Shetland News, you play a vital role in ensuring we remain a pivotal resource in supporting the community.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.